I think we all know the drill by now: eat more raw veggies (especially greens) to live longer and lose weight.
Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian plan is all about loading up on salad.
“Salad is the main course!” It’s the mantra that allowed me to lose 21 pounds on the 6 week plan without working out–so, that’s one powerful message. During those 6 weeks, I ate a large salad as my main course for lunch and dinner. I did it religiously. It worked.
Now that I’m on the life-long nutritarian plan, I’ve learned that extending the “salad is the main course” principle to include breakfast sheds weight faster! Dr. Fuhrman goes so far as to call a green smoothie a “blended salad!”
When I have my green smoothie in the morning I notice I have more energy and feel fuller longer than when I opt for just plain fruit or oatmeal and fruit for breakfast.
Why do you feel fuller longer when you start your day with a green smoothie? Because you’re feeding your body the nutrients it needs in a very efficient way!
Wanna geek out with me on the science behind green smoothies? Yay! If not, scroll down to get tips and tricks and a basic Eat to Live green smoothie recipe!
The Scientific Reasons Why Green Smoothies Rock!
The key is that raw cruciferous veggies, like kale, collard greens and watercress, have some of the most important phytochemicals known to man. And the very best way to get to those potent nutrients is by chewing well, juicing, chopping or blending.
First, a little refresher, with some scientific backing from Dr. Fuhrman’s latest, The End of Dieting: Phytochemicals are complex chemical compounds that occur naturally in plants. They support self-reparative mechanisms in cells and enable the body’s defense system to work against waste products, such as free radicals and advanced glycation end products–a.k.a. all the stuff that keeps us fat and unhealthy!
Cruciferous veggies have a special phytochemical: ITCs (short for a long scientific word you’ll forget anyway). ITCs fight inflammation, inhibit supplying oxygen to your fat cells (thus helping them to die–yay!) increase you body’s detoxification enzymes and fight against cancer. These ITCs are magic and you want them in your body. All. The. Time.
So, we know we want raw cuciferous veggies and we know the best way to activate them is through blending, so how do we not mess this up?
Glad you asked!
First let’s talk liquids.
What’s the Best Liquid to Use For a Green Smoothie?
Boring, right? I know, but it is hands-down the best liquid base for your green smoothie. It doesn’t add any calories or interfere with the veggie goodness and the best part? It’s free!
Runner up: coconut water.
This is my personal favorite. But is has to be unsweetened. Look for a brand that has one ingredient: coconut water. Period. It’s actually harder than you think to find, so read labels. I personally use ZICO.
100% coconut water has 50 calories for 8.45 ounces. But what I love most is the potassium advantage. Coconut water gives you 490mg of potassium (that’s 14% of your recommended daily value) woop woop! It also brings in 4% calcium, 4% magnesium and 2% phosphorus.
There is some naturally-occurring sodium, which makes it not as good as water, but the electrolyte load is worth it in my book.
Third: Almond Milk.
You could lump soy, hemp and other nut-based milk into this category (though for me personally, almond milk has the best flavor to pair with raw greens). Again, this only works if it is unsweetened.
So why the third-place status? Mostly the processing and added ingredients like xantham gum and tricalcium phosphate. If you make your own nut-milk at home, then your good to go!
Almond milk does win in one critical area: calcium. You get 45% of your daily need with just 8 ounces!
Stay away from juice, coconut milk and dairy.
Juice provides a lot of calories without any of the fiber found in whole fruit. Dr. Fuhrman does have some smoothie recipes that can for a half cup of juice or less, if you really must, be sure to keep it to a minimum.
Coconut milk has waaaay too much fat. Enough said. This is supposed to be a blended salad people, not a blended spinach dip!
Dairy would not only taste pretty gross with greens, but there are compounds in dairy that actually counteract all the veggie-goodness going on!
Always Add Seeds to Your Green Smoothie!
If you’re not already doing this you need to start now!
Seeds do two things: (1) they provide even more phtyochemicals and (2) the fats in seeds increase the absorption of the protective nutrients in vegetables eaten in the same meal.
So, image your kale (which is pretty darn spectacular by itself) magnified, pumped, charged, ready to kick some free-radical-ass!! That’s what adding seeds to your green smoothie does!
Dr. Fuhrman recommends eating 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily for their omega 3s and I just add those 2 tablespoons right into my morning smoothie. They blend easily and have a mild nutty taste.
Another great seed to add is hemp seed. They have almost no flavor (have a good dose of potassium and magnesium) and blend up nicely.
I do not recommend blending chia seeds into your green smoothie. They get very gelatinous and it affects the consistency. They do better sprinkled on top.
Go For The Greens!
This is my giant bag of chard, kale and spinach. I buy it at Costco and stick it right into the freezer. You don’t need to do anything fancy, they freeze easily and don’t clump together.
So, the main goal to attain the “perfect” Eat to Live green smoothie is to load up on the greens! I absolutely stuff in as much as I can. My goal is 2 cups of greens per serving.
Don’t worry the fruit is there to add sweetness. You want to get right to that sweet spot where the greens’ taste is not too overpowering and it still taste slightly sweet.
Really push yourself to get as many in there as possible!
A Basic Eat to Live Green Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup frozen fruit (I like to do half pineapple & half mango)
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 cups kale, chard and/or spinach
- 1 1/4 cup liquid (water, coconut water or unsweetened nut-milk)
- 2 tbsp. ground flax seed or hemp seed
Use this basic recipe and start incorporating green smoothies for breakfast most days a week! Your going to feel a change in your energy level, you’re going to feel fuller longer (cause your body got a mega-dose of those phytochemicals it needs) and you’re going to be losing weight or more easily maintain your ideal weight!